After a contentious confirmation hearing, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the 102nd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on Saturday.
The jurist was able to convince 50 senators–49 Republicans and one Democrat–that he deserved to be on the Court despite three sexual assault allegations against him and a testimony seen by millions during which he said the accusations were “a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Donald Trump and the 2016 election” by Democrats and “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.”
Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a major victory for the president and undoubtedly pushes the Court further right, in what some have said will have a lasting impact for a generation.
One of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27 and was mocked by the president abut her testimony, has been unable to return to her home due to a flurry of death threats.
Many will closely examine cases before the Supreme Court in the years to come, particularly those regarding issues such as abortion, LGBTQ rights and the role of religion in society that are bound to make their way to the nation’s highest court, which now holds an even stronger conservative majority.
Below are two major issues that may appear before Kavanaugh on the Court.
Conservatives have tried to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made it legal for women throughout the country to get an abortion.
During his hearing, Kavanaugh said the case was “settled law,” which was able to assuage Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-Maine) fears that it would be overturned when she met him following his nomination in August (Collins was a deciding vote in getting Kavanaugh confirmed).
Trump has made no secret of the facr that he would nominate a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and Kavanaugh has already issued an opinion on abortion rights as a Washington D.C. circuit judge.
In 2017, he opposed an undocumented teenager who was under the federal care’s attempt to terminate her pregnancy, saying his fellow judges were creating a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand,” according to the Washington Post, which added that the term “abortion on demand” was used in anti-abortion circles.
Rights for LGBTQ citizens may be at risk with Kavanaugh now sitting on the Supreme Court. He’s replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was instrumental in marriage equality becoming law in 2015.
According to USA Today, a number of cases involving LGBTQ protections in the lower courts may make its way to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has spoken openly for his love of late Justice Antonin Scalia, whose strict interpretation of the Constitution made him a conservative hero and a target for those in favor of a progressive agenda.
“The judge’s job is to interpret the law, not to make the law or make policy,” Kavanaugh said in a 2016 speech at the Antonin Scalia Law School. “Read the words of the statute as written. Read the text of the Constitution as written, mindful of history and tradition. Don’t make up new constitutional rights that are not in the text of the Constitution.”
He also refused to answer if marriage equality was properly decided three years ago.
Now that the dust has settled, any decision Kavanaugh makes as a member of highest court in the land will most likely be scrutinized.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.